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Success - Ranking through Brand Building.

 7:28 pm on Jun 13, 2013 (gmt 0)

The last 4 months of posting has been interesting. I will link to some post that validate what I am about to post. I quit some time ago posting on how to rank because it allows the SE's to develop or counter the way we/I might rank a site. With that said 3 years ago I changed everything with the sites I work and the sites our company uses to generate revenue.

There is a new post in Google forum
I said here in a thread when the P2 launched.

I felt this was coming. The SEO we did 5/10 years ago to help rank a site is now considered BH. Call it WH at the time the fact is we manipulated the serps and this is BH. The recent update confirmed this.

I looked into Branding and how I could develop and implement a program that slowly built Brand awareness to our products. I moved away from the traditional methods and went back to ole school. I quit all linking, I quit all anchor text linking, I quit everything that worked 5/10 years ago and built our Brand. Our Brand is our product our Brand is our domain, our Brand is our business. This was developed through traditional advertising, trade shows, blogs I host, forums I post in, advertising we do on and off the net, and other marketing methods I might have left out.

I have an never will use the disallow Google linking tool. This just tells Google I screwed up and got caught. I don't or can't worry about all the websites ripping our content. I developed a Brand that was strong enough to beat any of these leaches, just like all the Brands you see in the serps today.

I see so many poor me and Google bashing post here, but what these people failed to see or do was build their BRAND. They continued to do what worked in the past. Well the past is over deal with the present and future. Look and listen to the Google employees (without having a chip on your shoulder) If you can't then the net is over for you, if you are open adapt to the new ranking, adapt your SEO/SEM, build a Brand presence because if you don't IMO your TOAST, done, over, find another deal, and forget about blaming Google that is BS.



 11:47 am on Jun 19, 2013 (gmt 0)

taberstruths I stopped building links through the traditional methods. Branding is all about building links. The ones you don't have any input in and are built on the whim of the user/business/form/blog/advertising/marketing/trade shows and so on.
I do suggest (sometimes) the link, but most of my links are tracking links that 301 redirect to specific pages for ROI analysis.
In other forms or linkedin I became a poster that people specific to our industry linked to. This brought in many links from other "like" industries.
Google has had 12 years of developing patterns in the way links are created by users and not SEO's.
I quit posting on how I rank my sites now because as I have said before the net has become a crowed place. Why would I post to the world how I make my living. What I do is read, read, read and study other websites that rank.

I don't go to the #1 spot I look at 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 spots.

I listen to any Google employee over and over.

I try to get into their heads, I try to see their vision, I understand their not out to get me but improve (In their mind) the serps.

Branding is a way I work with my customers and explain to them if they are not willing to put effort, time, money, and sweat into their sites I won't be able to help them.

I don't take clients that want or think their is a "magic pill" but are willing to slowly build a strong profile or develop their Brand.

Building a Brand is all about links BTW just built differently.


 3:15 pm on Jun 19, 2013 (gmt 0)

Thanks bwnbwn. That is much more helpful and actionable. I too agree that G is not out to "get us". Their job descriptions and the way they earn their paychecks have nothing to do with vendettas against webmasters. They are to provide the type of website their visitors are looking for and will come back to which is no different than the rest of us. Understanding how they think is very important. Not just for ranking but for overall understanding of success on a large scale.

Long term success cannot be based on keywords, urls, anchor text ect. Long term success has to be based on people. With the shift in the net towards social media this is even more important. The net is no longer about finding information or buying a product alone.

Linkedin is a great platform for b2b or industry to industry. Personally I have not found it as good for niches for the general public but the concept of using social media to gain authority and natural links is still sound.

In my niche as a content provider, syndication has done well in building my brand. I am not talking about splog syndication or blog networks but actual syndication by invitation on higher authority websites in my niche.

I have also built my brand by expanding in my niche to other types of websites. No longer does my brand just provide content but my brand now includes social networking, a resource tool, and a strictly resource website. Just as G has expanded their brand to go beyond search, I have done the same in my niche.

I started out 2 years ago knowing nothing and having a blogger blog that was totally lame. This year we will have 3/4 of a million visitors, 5000 registered users, and 4 million page views over all of my brands sites.

When I started out, I did not realize how much bad advice was out there. Luckily it did not kill my original site but fixing it sidetracked my efforts 9 months. That is why I have little tolerance for those with great claims and no substance.


 9:24 pm on Jun 19, 2013 (gmt 0)

Turbocharged: Yes, many of my top search terms are the brand, variations on the brand name, or names of the data tools. Direct traffic has grown steadily and is now over half the volume -- SE's being bypassed.

how did the results from your branding play out with the SERP's
5 of my top 10 search terms are variations of the brand as mentioned above. The others are widgets for sale, widget for sale, widget classifieds and such.

Generally for almost any phrase in the industry one of my pages will show up on the first page. If other sites have linked to the page it will be number one, also if nobody is fighting for that phrase.

For several terms like the brand and names of data tools there are sitelinks. If one of the data tools does something similar to the name of your domain, my page will be above yours for a search on yourdomainname.

There are some phrases that others consistently outrank me on, but they're really doing a better job in that area so it's appropriate.

The shift to mobile is accelerating my direct traffic. Wondering what search engines will do next is a curiosity now, no longer a concern.


 11:50 pm on Jun 19, 2013 (gmt 0)

5 of my top 10 search terms are variations of the brand as mentioned above. The others are widgets for sale, widget for sale, widget classifieds and such.

@treeline - how does that compare to say your top 5 to 10 most common Autocomplete / Google Suggest and core base values. [ubersuggest.org...] is a useful tool to test in conjunction with the native Google search and your analytic stats [ if you weren't already aware ]. Since Google Suggest is based on probability scores there should be a match , I expect.

many of my top search terms are the brand, variations on the brand name, or names of the data tools. Direct traffic has grown steadily and is now over half the volume -- SE's being bypassed.

Do you see a consistent ratio of direct entry to "brand name keyword" in your analytics? I wondered what the ratio interplay is in general terms.

I've often wondered if the "probability score" [ previously mentioned by Amit Singhal ] raised by brand name keyword inclusion plays a part in the brand ranking boost within the SERP's algo.


 1:16 pm on Jun 20, 2013 (gmt 0)

This topic really should be labeled "Success - Ranking through Brand Building and diversification." I think some are seeing "brand building" and applying it through how it's generally been associated with exact-match domains. There's been plenty of discussion here about how "I don't want a domain that is some meaningless word."

What I think bwnbwn and others who have posted here mean is to perhaps consider your domain carefully, but also diversify your strategy. Work on ways of generating traffic that are not at all associated with traditional SEO link building or on-site tactics, and this will eventually help you with your SEO ranking. And you have the benefit of knowing that, if the bottom drops on organic because of some new furry animal update, it won't be a death sentence for your site.

I can understand the resistance, and it's probably not so much because people don't want to do it (though maybe this in some cases), but because they're not working on their own sites but those of a client. Maybe the solution here is to promote yourself and explain the benefits of a holistic strategy to online marketing?


 2:10 pm on Jun 20, 2013 (gmt 0)

What exactly does Google look for in branding? How is branding measurable?


 4:41 pm on Jun 20, 2013 (gmt 0)

What exactly does Google look for in branding?

We would all be guessing, but my guesses as to the strongest signals:

1) Number of branded searches, especially with qualifiers that make it clear people are searching brand + something. Type "amazon" or "bbc" into google and note all the suggested search terms, and you'll see some good examples. Some good examples might include "<brand> promo code" in the ecommerce space or "<brand> jobs" in just about any space.

2) A "trust" relationship with other sites. Google has a patent out there that many people think is the basis for their "Vince Update", which was supposed to offer some preference to brand. The patent is here: [patft.uspto.gov...] Search for "Google Vince Update" for more info on how Google might view brands.


 6:37 pm on Jun 20, 2013 (gmt 0)

I'm sure Google uses their knowledge graph to determine brands. In other words, you can't brand to Google, your searchers must ask for your brand via Google. That would be a strong signal to Google that you should rank even higher, because searchers resorting to adding the brand to a query feel like Google won't give them the results unless they goose the search.

Pretend you're Google. People start searching for Widget1 Quicklime, Widget2 Quicklime, etc. and you see that. Isn't that a good signal that people like something called "Quicklime" and Google isn't giving searchers what they want? As soon as Google figures out that Quicklime (I made that up, BTW) maps to Quicklime.com, the brand is established.


 7:28 pm on Jun 20, 2013 (gmt 0)

your top 5 to 10 most common Autocomplete / Google Suggest and core base values.
I don't know how to check these. I'm willing to be educated.

Direct entry has been climbing rapidly and has a definite correlation to the shift to mobile devices.


 11:28 pm on Jun 20, 2013 (gmt 0)

Seems like there's two discussions going on here. Some people are advocating brand building to be independent of google whereas others recommend it as a way to prosper in Google.

I'm interested in improving rankings but the idea of building a true brand (which I regard as a household name) is quite daunting. However, in my niche I'd say there are only a handful of household names. The rest are well known in the industry but that's as far as it goes.

So what do we really mean by brand (for the purposes of ranking well)? Webmasterworld and Searchengineland are known well by the SEO industry and rank well but are they brands? Not in my book.

Building a famous brand is a noble but slightly unrealistic goal for most people starting a web business and the evidence suggests being an industry leader is more than enough for google.

I think we're getting a bit carried away with this brand thing. Google definitely reflects the real world much more now, but even in the real world you can have a very successful business without becoming a brand.


 12:14 am on Jun 21, 2013 (gmt 0)

you can have a very successful business without becoming a brand

How do you believe this is possible?
However, in my niche I'd say there are only a handful of household names.

Here's your opportunity to build your reputation. Does that start to answer it ?

Big or small anyone can build a brand if they establish a reputation that is sustainable. Even a local coffee shop.

Seems like there's two discussions going on here. Some people are advocating brand building to be independent of google whereas others recommend it as a way to prosper in Google.

If you get your reputation going, and enable your sites through SEO, one of the marketing enablement channels will be Google, who will find you. Your niche authority should be built out around your reputation, not Google's. Think of things that will make you distinct and customers happy.

Google is a brand for search. You are who you are, and you are unique. Then flaunt your offering in a manner that is appealing and seen as unique to you. Market it. UI , personal presentations , things you say, do ....etc etc.


 4:30 am on Jun 21, 2013 (gmt 0)

you can have a very successful business without becoming a brand

How do you believe this is possible?

Pedantic, but there are spaces where branding doesn't matter much. A couple of examples:

Commodities. Nobody cares about who makes their paper clips...just who has the lowest price.

Government work. Lowest bidder and/or preferential status (disabled veteran owned, for example) gets the job.

Of course, in both of those spaces, a web presence doesn't matter much either :)


 10:21 am on Jun 21, 2013 (gmt 0)

Let's look at this another way. Let's say there's a brand scale that goes from 1-10.

1 - start up business/website and give it a name
2 - create your content and begin marketing
3 - do more marketing, PR stunts, etc. to catch attention everywhere you can
4 - join an industry body, speak at seminars to grow your reputation
5 - become the 'go to' person/business in your industry
6 - get mentioned in the media (TV, radio, etc.) as your name and reputation grows
7 - business becomes a household name in your country
8 - word of your business starts to spread to other countries
9 - most of the world has heard of your business
10 - your business becomes famous worldwide (e.g. Amazon, Apple, etc.)

At which point on that scale do you make the transition from nothing to what we're referring to as a "brand"?

Personally I think of a brand as a household name (7-10) but if the advice here is that you'll only be successful if you become a household name then the majority of us are in major trouble.

In my niche the sites that dominate range from 4-8 in the scale above. One I'd rate as a 7 but it's a subsidiary of a 10 brand. Two of the sites are only in the 3-5 range, they are small businesses with an affiliate type model but they rank very strongly as a result of very creative marketing which gained them very high quality backlinks and lots of social mentions/likes/shares (on a par with sites in the 6-7 range). So they created the illusion of being more significant than they really are and that is working for them in Google.

My niche has a number of sub-niches and the sites that dominate those are the people who make the products (the main niche is companies selling the products these people make). These would be 3-6 in the brand scale. You could say they are big fish in a very, very, very small pond. So they are unknown to the public, heard of in the niche and very well known in their sub-niche.

So what are we really saying a brand is? What are we advising people to strive for on this scale? At which point can you say you don't need Google?

Years ago when my business had just started to fly and I was full of confidence and bravado I was chatting to a very successful businessman with a relatively well known company in the UK employing hundreds and explained how I was building a brand. He laughed (too much!) and said "do you have any idea what it really takes to build a brand?". That's when I realised there was a big difference between building a business and building a brand.

My advice would be "build a real business" and then you don't have to depend on Google. One day you may become a brand if you're really talented, determined and/or well financed, but you'll be ranking well in Google long before you get anywhere close to being a brand.


 4:55 pm on Jun 21, 2013 (gmt 0)

Seems like there's two discussions going on here. Some people are advocating brand building to be independent of google whereas others recommend it as a way to prosper in Google.

They go hand-in-hand, but you have to be willing to diversify your efforts. Promote your site/product to people in other ways. They hear about it from you and if they like it, they share and mention it. Then more people share it and mention it, and some of those people also link to it.

At some point you're now ranking better in Google than before. But if the bottom drops out, it won't be as devastating as if you focus solely on ranking in Google with SEO tactics, because you'll have other sources of traffic.

I also agree with muzza64 to focus on building a real business by providing a good product or service, and also on getting word out about it. Even informational sites and forums can focus on being the best resource for their "customer."

Do that, and get the word out about it, and you have a chance to do well outside of Google, and perhaps inside it as well.


 4:40 am on Jun 22, 2013 (gmt 0)

Sorry guys been moving our office rewiring and no computer, when I get home got a garden, grandkids, and other work to do. Just put up corn and some bad ass spaghetti sauce 7 quarts. Hommie grown tom, garlic, and onions.

This is what I see branding a website to be.

Google 1999 (boys are marketing genius) started out with zit. They tried to sell to Yahoo for 100k, this fell through, so what did they do. Go after the Collage age kids, offer free widgets, go to WebmasterWorld conventions, and all the other conventions a web person might attend. Create the Google dance (remember that), and many more engaging activities "WE" all followed. Remember GMail when it launched webmasters were fighting over it.

Their search engine wasn't the best those boys just Branded better than all the rest. They thought of ways to engage us. Google offered Colleges free search, they Branded their name in young up and coming kids.

Look at McDonalds they don't advertise for parents they advertise for the kids. Ever been in a car when it is lunch (if ya have kids/grandkids) time and you see the MC arch?

What I try to do is focus all our energy, recourses, and time on being creative, engaging, educated, and develop unique "linkable" content for our company, that engages our visitors.

If I can do this I have fulfilled my responsibilities.


 7:44 pm on Jun 22, 2013 (gmt 0)

"never used the disallow Google linking tool."

Do you mean the link DISAVOW tool?

Not being pedantic, just making sure I understand the statement.


 10:04 pm on Jun 25, 2013 (gmt 0)

yes correct. I see no real need in this tool. May I ask a stupid question here.

Why if a competitor that sets up links to my domain why does it cause or hurt my ranking? If I have already have the strength (links from various sources in many different methods) this will allow Google to see this is a negative SEO attempt to hurt my rankings?

Now if I have gone about the same business we did 5 years ago and all my links are in certain anchor text, with specific targeted phrases then yes I can see negative SEO working, but then you as the webmaster of the site go in and start hammering away at the links you/SEO firm created.

Well what happens then? The link profile of the site goes to zit or very minimum at best; so your rankings drop and down and down.

You can't recover from using this tool (IMO) if your profile is so narrow it won't support the links you are getting rid of.

This is why Branding through multiple channels, multiple advertising, and multiple social is so important.

It has taken me years to brand our product/domain/business this is what you will have to do IMO (only). The profile you build for your domain has to be so generic it can't be recognized (through the many years Google has been able to collect this data) it survives the changes in the algo.

If you don't change your approach to understanding the net your going to be lost in the sea.


 10:35 pm on Jun 25, 2013 (gmt 0)

What exactly does Google look for in branding? How is branding measurable?

I am not sure if this his how Google identifies branding but it is a good measure of how successful your branding efforts are working.

Just use the adwords keyword tool and type in your brand and see how many searches are being done for your brand.

1 year ago my brand didn't exist as a search. Today it is at 58 per month. Nothing to brag about but my efforts are paying off. However I have a long way to go to get near the largest brand in my niche which is near 50k per month.

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